With temperatures rising, this Thursday was the day to fire up the clippers and give our flock their annual trim! Derek the shearer had quite a long list of customers, with our flock of sheep as our two alpacas and three lovely llamas. However, everyone is looking neat and tidy following shearing and they will certainly be feeling much cooler. Shearing has also produced lots of lovely wool and fibre. If you might be interested in any of our fleeces or fibre, please get in touch by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, come along to our monthly wool crafting group this Saturday (June 27th) and see our website.
With warm summery weather on the horizon, it was time to get those fleeces off! Derek the shearer was back on the farm last week with clippers ready to shear our flock. It was a busy day and he will be coming back to shear our llamas and one of our alpacas soon. Shearing day was the hottest of the year (though we have since seen warmer temps!) and our flock seem very happy to have those fleeces off their backs.
We started with the mothers as their lambs don’t like being separated for too long at this age. First up was our first ewe to lamb, the Oxford Down ewe Bonnie.
Bonnie was an excellent model, sitting quietly throughout the shearing process. Her fleece was incredibly large and she must have been getting rather warm under all that wool. She’s a rather big girl, but much of that bulk was fleece as a slim and healthy ewe was revealed by the shears.
It was fascinating to see the ewes and lambs reunited after shearing. The lambs know their mother by voice, smell and appearance. However, they seem to rely heavily on sight. There were lots of baas and reassurances required when they first saw their shorn mothers with the little ones looking puzzled. That sounds like my mum, but my mum is woolier than her! The hesitation didn’t last long though.
You can find more photos of the first part of our shearing below and we hope you’ll agree our sheep are looking lovely with their new trims. They certainly feel better for it in this heat. We sell their rare breed fleeces to handspinners and we do have a number of fleeces and alpaca fibre available. The fleeces are sold “raw”, just as they come off the sheep and full of lanolin. You can find out more about them here and by email to email@example.com.
As summer approaches, it was time for our flock to get their summer trim! Heavy fleeces can cause health problems in warm weather as well as hide flystrike. Shearer Derek Knowles came to shear the flock. He set up his electric shearing station in the Princes Trust building and the day was filled with the buzz of the clippers as the wool came rolling off.
The fleeces of our sheep breeds weight between 2-4.5kg, so the sheep will definitely be feeling lighter and brighter after having a trim. Their fleeces will go on to be spun into yarn and turned into all sorts of garments. Wool fibres are characterised by two metrics, their Bradford count (which is a measure of how fine the wool is) and their stable length (the length of the individual fibres). The finest wool of our flock is that of the Oxford Down with a Bradford count of 54.56. While the Whitefaced Woodlands have the longest staple length at about 15cm. Oxfords also have the heaviest fleeces, measuring up to 4.5kg for our rams.